Friday, August 22, 2008

Our New World: An Old World


Last Saturday, Robb was standing in the kitchen looking out the window, and commented on the beautiful globe for sale at the yard sale across the street. This prompted a conversation about the antique auction Sheila and I went to years ago in rural upstate NY where a totally crappy falling-apart globe sold for six hundred dollars. The auctioneers offered no special provenance on that particular globe, and I left the auction convinced that everyone there had lost their minds.

But dang, that globe for sale down on the sidewalk sure was pretty.

And half an hour later, I was storming down the stairs with a wallet full of cash.

Robb and I spent the next hour or so trying to figure out when this globe was produced, because, strangely, it didn't have the usual printed copyright date. There are some really perplexing questions posed by this globe, which shows Israel and Newfoundland and Labrador as part of Canada (1948), but not a divided Germany (1949) or Korea (1953).

Things certainly have changed in Africa. I don't imagine anyone would be comfortable using the name Slave Coast anymore. Interestingly, all colonies are printed in the color of their ruling nations, with French-ruled countries colored purple, Portuguese countries being green, and pink representing the British Empire.

The globe isn't particularly well constructed. Somehow Delaware got obliterated by shoddy glueing. I love the slight wonkiness of this world, as well as its patina. You can imagine that many hands spun this globe, over many decades.

The printed legend declares that this is a "starlight globe," and I love how all the oceans and seas are printed in black. The Black Sea actually is black. And Istanbul is Constantinople.

Best two bucks I've spent in ages.


Anonymous said...

what a cool old globe.

just4bees on AQ

Becky said...

ooh, old globes. hours of fun. i'd say that was a good 2 bucks spent, as well. my parent's best friend when i was small was a famous cartographer and the friend was a perfect fit with my mom's wanderlust. she lived to travel, and, in fact, we chose a destination once by spinning a globe, putting our fingers down 3 times and picking one of the places. we randomly picked peru, france, and the southeast asian peninsula. we chose the latter, which began a long term romance with the malaysia, singapore, and indonesia.

Anonymous said...

There is a globe somewhere at work that one of my fellow teachers calls "the Cold War globe." The oceans are black, the land is blue, and there are no boundaries drawn between countries at all. I think the idea is that the teacher can draw them in with chalk? And when the borders change, you can change them on the globe? That's a ridiculous amount of work, if you ask me!


knitica said...

Ooo, who owns Alaska?

Anonymous said...

ExxonMobil, I think.

robb said...

Actually it does list Hawaii as a U.S. territory. They didn't become a state until `59.

Anonymous said...

So you finally got a globe?!?!? Hooray and what a bargain!
It is a fun item to have hanging around, to see such a perfect shape for our world. Anyhow, your post reminded me to update that website!!! Yikes, I was shocked to see what came up when I clicked on the link.
Hope you two are well.

Anonymous said...

Hey there, try looking up where my state of mind is located sometime for me, ok?


Fluffy Cow said...

Is it just me, or does it look like Monterey is a gouge colored indention in the Pacific!!!

I LOVE $2 finds!

gollygee said...

I love globes and maps! I actually saw a cool lamp made out of half of a globe (as the shade) on a craft website lately. I think I might make some when I move! :)

ajt said...

i would say, too, that is a great $2. One of my wish-list items is the leap-frogger globe, which is an electronic kid's educational toy that comes with a stylus. it says things like, "Find Djibouti." Then you find Djibouti. If you're wrong, it says, "7,000 miles East." Great fun, available at Toys 'r' Us, and far too expensive for a poor grad student like me. :)

Heather said...

Thank You! My hubby is one of the hardest people to shop for, but an old globe is the best idea ever!

Lynne Rutter said...

i love stuff like this!
my parents have a circa 1926 globe in their library. i spent hours as a kid staring at it.
black ocean globes started to get popular in the 1930s but the bestselling black ocean globe was made by "replogle" through the 1940s, and you can pinpoint its age here:

okay so i am a geek that way!
awesome score!


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